A few months ago, we brought you the news of Sega’s massive $85 million operating loss for the 2011-2012 fiscal year and their plans for the restructuring of their Western division in order to return to profitability. Exactly what this will entail was made a bit more clear today thanks to GamesIndustry International who spoke with Sega Europe COO Jurgen Post. In short, the company will be shuttering its offices in Australia, Benelux, France, Germany and Spain. These were primarily administrative satellites meaning that distribution in these, and a few other, countries will now be handled by third party companies.
In spite of this, the main development arms of Sports Interactive, The Creative Assembly and the UK Studios will not be affected. This is because it is these studios that are in charge of the four IPs that Sega plans to continue to nourish and nurture in their Western branches: Alien, Football Manager, Sonic and Total War. As for the hope that anything else may be in the pipeline, it is probably best to hear it from the horse’s mouth:
“At the moment for us those are the four IPs we are talking about, they are our AAA IP. At the moment we are looking into options of course, but it’s not like we are already developing some other titles in addition to that, no.“
However, he did go on to say that they expect between fifty and seventy-five digital releases annually to bolster their line-up. When asked aboutthe bigger industry changes that led to the decision, Post had the following to say:
“The big IPs are becoming bigger, whether that’s FIFA, Call Of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, those titles are just becoming bigger and bigger and it’s harder and harder to break into the market with new IP. And there’s a big transition at the moment.”
Sad, but true. IPs need to make a real impact both before and after release if they are to stand a chance in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace and it seems as though Sega is reluctant to throw their money at an advertising campaign to promote the excellent games that they create. Here’s hoping that they can get back on their feet as this news is utterly disheartening. However, this chain of events seems to be having little effect on the Japanese division of the company, which, if I may be so bold, has always produced their best games anyway.